Fighting Gerrymandering in 2020

Date(s) - 08/15/17
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Hosted by
Chi Hack Night

Chi Hack Night Biased Election Maps: Fighting Gerrymandering in 2020

Chi Hack Night

August 15, 6pm

Every ten years, everyone in the US is counted by the Census, and our congressional districts get redrawn. In 2020 it will be different: manipulating the district maps, known as gerrymandering, is now done with algorithms and “big data” collected on every voter. A recent study by The University of Chicago Law Review concluded that “the severity of today’s gerrymandering is … unprecedented in modern times.”

Web developer, mapmaker, and former Code for America fellow Nick Doiron returns to Chi Hack Night from Gerrymandering Summer School by the Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group (yes, this is a real thing), to share how mappers and technologists can help measure and challenge unfair election maps.

This talk will cover :

  • what gerrymandering is, and how it works today
  • why we probably can’t draw districts with one, unbiased algorithm
  • open source maps and metrics that Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group is developing

The Chi Hack Night is a free, weekly event in Chicago to build, share and learn about civic tech and tools to create, support, or serve public good.

Join us every Tuesday from 6-10pm on the 8th floor of the Merchandise Mart to hear from interesting speakers, learn from each other and work on civic projects. Non-techies are very welcome!

What happens at a hack night?

Every week, we have a 10-15 minute presentation by a government agency, non-profit, company or group who’ve made use of open data or built a civic technology application. The goal of these presentations is to showcase the different uses and opportunities, as well as challenges and successes in the civic technology movement.

After the presentation, the format of the event is similar to that of a hackathon where breakout groups self-organize to work on civic apps, discuss policies and their implications, learn technical skills and network with a welcoming and diverse community at the intersection of technology and government.

But I’m not a techie!

That’s ok! We encourage non-technical folks to pair up and learn from our community’s designers and developers. We’ve seen time and time again, he best civic projects come from teams with a diverse background.

Remember, there’s much more to making a great app than just coding.


Derek Eder, Christopher Whitaker and Juan-Pablo Velez

The Chi Hack Night is organized by Derek Eder, Christopher Whitaker and (formerly) Juan-Pablo Velez. You can contact them here.

Every month, we hold an open Leadership Council Meeting to discuss new ideas and ways to make the hack night better. Anyone is welcome to join!

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